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Furnishing fabric - The Owl

The Owl

  • Object:

    Furnishing fabric

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1898 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    C. F. A. Voysey, born 1857 - died 1941 (designer)
    Alexander Morton & Co. (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Jacquard woven wool double cloth, with cotton

  • Credit Line:

    Given by J W F Morton and Courtaulds Ltd.

  • Museum number:

    T.167-1977

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Charles Voysey was one of the most original and influential architects and designers of all forms of decorative art working at the end of the 19th century. In 1882 he set up his own architecture practice and from the late 1880s started to design repeating patterns for wallpaper, woven and printed textiles and carpets.

Voysey's most interesting designs date from this time and show the influence of William Morris's principles of pattern design and use of plant forms and animals as standard motifs. Voysey's textiles are dominated by flowing patterns incorporating birds, deer, hearts, flowers and trees in silhouette. He sold his work to manufacturers such as G. P. & J. Baker, Thomas Wardle and Alexander Morton, and many of his designs were sold through Liberty in London. Voysey's work was well known in continental Europe, and though popular with French Art Nouveau designers, his influence was felt more dramatically by the founders of the Modern movement.

Physical description

Furnishing fabric sample of woven wool and cotton. Jacquard woven showing approximately three-quarters of the repeat of 'The Owl' design. The pattern depicts a repeating design of young birds in nests amidst stylised leaves and thistles with a clutch of berries repeating between the nests. Missing from the design are the heads of adult owls sitting on branches above the nests, although the bodies of the birds are represented. The design is woven in shades of brown, green and yellow with a woollen weft and warp with a fine cotton binding warp. There is a selvedge on the right side of the fabric and the top has a machine stitched hem.

A label attached by metal staples to the textiles describes it as 'Abbotsford' quality. Pattern number 431, colour 122. The label is printed on one side with 'A. M & Co', and is stamped on the reverse with 'H. de Vries: 36ter Rue de la Tour - d'Auvergne Paris', possibly refers to a retail client.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

1898 (designed)

Artist/maker

C. F. A. Voysey, born 1857 - died 1941 (designer)
Alexander Morton & Co. (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Jacquard woven wool double cloth, with cotton

Marks and inscriptions

A label attached by metal staples to the textile describes it as 'Abbotsford' quality. Pattern number 431, colour 122. The label is printed on one side with 'A. M & Co' and on the reverse stamped 'H. de Vries: 36ter Rue de la Tour - d'Auvergne Paris'.
Printed on one side of label

'H. de Vries: 36ter Rue de la Tour - d'Auvergne Paris'
Stamped on the reverse

Dimensions

Width: 19.5 in, Length: 25.75 in

Object history note

Registered File number 1976/1601.

A sample of this fabric was exhibited in 'The Mortons' in the Museum in 1973 (No. 86).

There are two other samples of this fabric in the collection: Circ.92-1966 and T.11-1953.
Circ.92-1966 was exhibited in Brighton Museum in 'C F A Voysey architect and designer', 1978 (D13), illust. p. 104.

The design was also produced as a wallpaper by Essex & Co.

Descriptive line

Furnishing fabric 'The Owl' of jacquard woven wool and cotton, designed by C.F.A. Voysey, for Alexander Morton & Co., Great Britain, 1898

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Dekorative Kunst. I, 1897-1898, p. 272
Studio Year Book. 1906, p. 126
Naylor, Gillian. The Arts and Crafts Movement: A Study of its Sources, Ideals, and Influence on Design Theory. London: Studio Vista, 1971, p. 66

Materials

Wool (textile); Cotton yarn

Techniques

Jacquard weaving

Subjects depicted

Leaves; Nests; Birds; Berries; Thistles

Categories

Textiles; Interiors

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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